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Gay for a Day – 19 August 2017

The sun enticed us out of bed and stayed with us until we left the house. After that it rained a bit, but it didn’t dampen our intent to go in to Glasgow on the bus. We were going to see the ‘maddies’ at Gay Pride.

We’d been to see the gay pride march last year, hoping to see one of Scamp’s old friends from work with her wife. Sorry, but I still find that a hard thing to say. Anyway, we didn’t see either of them and today was much the same. We started out with a coffee in Nero and then walked up Sauchiehall Street to Waterstones. On the way I went in to Tiger to get a pair of readers, because I had forgotten mine. In there, I picked up a watercolour block for the princely sum of £3! That’s about a quarter the price of the same sized article in Cass Art and they are the cheapest art shop in town. I’m not expecting much. It’s not going to be hand-made 100% rag paper, but for £3 you can’t expect miracles. Some people would say I always expect miracles! I was just going in to Waterstones when this bloke asked me how I was doing and if I was enjoying my retirement. I could almost see the Identikit pictures fluttering across my internal scanner as I tried to place him. Salsa? No, not salsa. High School? No, not high school, but there was a hook there. Teacher then? Yes. PT Tech from somewhere near. Kilsyth? Yes, that’s it. Isn’t the human brain wonderful. It’s been over three years since I’d last met Andy and I’ve had almost no connection to teaching since then, but the filters and sorts on my organic database worked their magic again. We talked for a while about people we knew and the state of Scottish education. I knew it was going downhill, you only have to watch the Scottish news to see that, but it’s much more pointed when you are getting the full story from someone at the chalkface. It was good speaking to him. I always got on well with him at PTs meetings. He was one of the quieter ones who had no need for arse licking. One of the few. We said our goodbyes and I wandered the bookshop trying to make sense of some of the things he had told me. For once I didn’t even add a book to my book list.

Met Scamp who had been raking through the bargain at M&S, then we walked down Buchanan Street to watch the march. We missed the start of it, but caught the most of the celebration. It never ceases to surprise me just how good natured this march is. Yes, it’s noisy and yes there are a lot of politicos there, but there is no bad feeling or even a harsh word. Everyone is just there to have a good time.  Even the rain showers didn’t dampen their enthusiasm. I got a few shots, quite a few, and when it was over we went to Cafe Andaluz for a tapas lunch washed down with a nice glass of red. After lunch we did a bit more shopping. Alliterative Sparkly Sandals for Scamp. For me, an inconclusive attempt to get a pair of jeans that I like at a price I was willing to pay. Possibly an impossible proposition.

To round off our day we dropped in to the Horse Shoe Bar for a little drink before we got the bus home. I don’t think Scamp was too comfortable on a shoogly bar stool. She’s not used to drinking at height.

Oh, today’s title doesn’t refer to us, at least I don’t think it does.  It was a discussion we had as we were walking back up Buchanan Street, wondering how many of those marching today with their rainbow colours and sequins were actually L or G or B or T or I.  We reckoned on about 50%.  The rest were just there for the fun of it or to support friends.  Why not?  That’s what life is all about.

Tomorrow? Maybe a walk in the morning. Tomorrow may be the first day of a new regime. A fitness regime. We’ll see how long it lasts.

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Recovering from an overdose of salsa – 3 July 2017

Today was always going to be a recovery day. Dancing at the Sunday Social, then dancing at the 40th wedding anniversary celebration for Johnny and Andrea. Late drive home then crashing to get the blog done before the witching hour. I don’t suppose the wee dram helped either.

Anyway, a new day. Did a bit more gardening, but not as much as Scamp. After lunch I went for a walk to lose the black monkey that was on my shoulder all day. Went down the Luggie for a change and got the photo of the dog rose and the sketch of the railway bridge. Came home, without the monkey, had dinner and went to more salsa. That’s the day in a nutshell.

There’s not much more to say other than I hadn’t intended doing a sketch every day in July, it was just a lovely warm sunny then dull day and I love the textures of the old railway bridge. I expect some day they will have to repair or replace it, but until then I’ll admire its rusty overgrown features and photograph it or sketch it when it appeals to me.

I helped out at Cameron’s enormous beginners salsa class. He really needs the help. He’s getting better as a teacher, but really needs to “speak more clearly and distinctly” to quote Scamp. He also needs to stop referring to everyone as ‘guys’. That’s ok when you’re talking to a bunch of guys, but calling everyone ‘guys’ can be confusing for beginners to know when he’s talking to leaders and when he’s talking to followers. Maybe he will improve, or maybe as someone once said at school “He’s plateaued.” IE. ‘reached a state of little or no change after a period of activity or progress’. Only time will tell, but I, as a seasoned dancer, found today’s class confusing, so what did the beginners think.  One big bonus tonight was that Scamp drove us in and back from class.  It was so relaxing being driven, but I don’t think Scamp found it that way.  I think I may be driving on Wednesday DV.

Tomorrow we’re out fairly early. Don’t know what we will be doing after that.

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Derelict Decadence – 17 June 2017

We drove in to Glasgow today. Me to see a photographic exhibition and Scamp to see a quilting exhibition. Both were interesting as it turned out, but mainly to the parties who attended.  The photo exhibition was by Alfonso Ramundo seen above with his partner.  The photographs were all monochrome and of dilapidated buildings, mainly in and around Glasgow, but also some from Czech Republic.  I spent a good half hour talking to the two artists and felt that they were both genuinely interested in their photography.  Very good show.  If you get a chance to see it anywhere, go.

Afterwards we went for lunch to Usha the tapas style Indian restaurant at the bottom of Byres road. Lunch was just as good as usual Patia Gosht an Achari Chicken for me and simply Saag Paneer for Scamp. Nan bread was cool but not cold as usual too. Still, the main food was good and hot so we shouldn’t and didn’t complain.

On the way back Scamp needed a single ticket on the underground as she’d used up her return and we waited a full five minutes behind a girl who seemed to be buying weekly tickets INDIVIDUALLY for her entire university class. Why she couldn’t just have bought them all with the one card swipe I’ll never know. She was english, so she probably didn’t know any better.

Came home and came over all exhausted. Must be the heat today, so went for a snooze.

Scamp is out at a concert which Nancy told her was in the Concert Hall, but turned out to be in the City Halls. Nowhere near each other. Must stop now because I need to get the train into Glasgow.

Didn’t have time to finish off the blog last night.  Didn’t get in until after midnight because of a 15 minute wait in Glasgow while they found a conductor for the train.  Delays like this give more weight to the company’s plans to have driver-only trains.

While I was walking back from the photograph exhibition to meet Scamp, I stopped to sketch this building.  Here’s what I wrote about it on Flickr:

Entrance to the Robertson Bio Incubator building (Glasgow Uni). Come on people, there must be a better name for this architectural masterpiece.

Today – because it is now Sunday morning – is warm and overcast.  It’s going to be a hot one I think, but not as hot as Hazy is predicting down England way!

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A sea of green – 28 May 2017

I thought it would be a good idea to go down The Green this morning for a wee walk.  So did a few thousand others, it seemed.

I’d made the fatal mistake of forgetting that yesterday twenty two men had been running around a green field chasing a ball in the rain  Eleven of them got a trophy for doing the running better than the other eleven.  The ones who won the trophy were wearing green and white shirts.  The losers were wearing red.  Today we were driving against a sea of green and white tee shirts.  Luckily.  If we had been going the other way, in the direction the crowd were going, we would still be waiting in that traffic jam.  Also, we started out fairly early and the traffic was light.  Later, when we were coming home the traffic queue was from Parkhead to the slip road from the motorway, in fact they were queueing along the inside lane of the westbound M80, a distance of about 5 miles!  Fanaticism!

However, it didn’t really affect us.  We drove to the People’s Palace and parked there then went for a walk along The Green to the McLennan Arch and back along the riverside to the suspension bridge.  Along the way I spotted on Mr McGivern who was the bane of my life for the last two years as a PT.  He worked two days of the two years he was meant to be with us.  A ghost of a man who screwed the system and probably still does so.  I didn’t speak to him.

We stood on the suspension bridge and watched the people rowing up and down the river.  Young and old, fit and unfit, but everyone seemed to be enjoying the sunshine, especially after yesterday’s rain.  We headed for home after that, without even our usual tea ’n’ toast or roll ’n’ sausage.

It was on the way home we saw the extent of fandom for Celtic.  So glad we were going the other way.  After lunch and a pretty boring Monaco GP, I drove down to Auchinstarry and walked along the canal to Twechar and back along the railway path.  Saw a Humming Bird Hawk Moth.  The first time I’ve seen one in Scotland.  Photo wasn’t all that good, because I was using the Teazer and it’s not really designed for my kind of macro photography.  Should have taken the Oly 10 as a banker.  Next time, yes, next time.  It was when I was crossing the plantation I saw Bolt.  That’s his name and his photo is at the top of the page.  Cheery wee guy and PoD.

Dinner was roast chicken with cabbage (because it was there) and potatoes.  Lovely warm day and I well exceeded my step count.

Tomorrow, no Gems, but it’s forecast for rain.

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Meeting Herr Kutz – 25 April 2017

Took the bus into Glasgow today, to meet Herr Kutz.  It’s been a long time since we met.  Too long, and so was the hair!

I risked using up the remainder of my data allowance and my battery life by listening to The Week’s Favourites on Spotify on the bus on the way in to Glasgow.  About the third of fourth track was a beautiful piece of piano playing and I thought I’d earmark it for Scamp.  Then the track changed to another piece by a different artist, but nowhere near as interesting.  I went back and searched for the piano music and found it was Piano Portraits by Rick Wakeman.  I listened to the rest of the album all the way in.

Still with Bluetooth earphones firmly plugged in I wandered round the *Toyshop* of John Lewis.  Not Lego and dollies but Panasonic and Lenovo.  Big Boys Toys.  Liked the look of a Panasonic TZ 60.  To give some perspective on that particular camera, I have an earlier model, a TZ 3.  I can hardly believe there has been 53 versions between the two!  An interesting camera the 60 because no only does it have an EVF 1, but it also produces RAW 2 files.  Interesting indeed.

The other toy was a neat little Lenovo 11” laptop which has a full size keyboard. The only thing wrong with my Linx 10 mini laptop is the equally mini keyboard, but maybe the Bluetooth keyboard I’m experimenting with will remove that particular problem.

After the retail therapy of the window shopping, it was time to meet Herr Kutz for a number 4 all over with a square neck.

After my haircut I walked down West Nile Street to Laboritorio Espresso for a quick Java.  It was only after I’d ordered my coffee and was taking my jacket off that I noticed the bloke across the room leaning against the wall and smiling at me.  It was an old adversary from the High School.  Steve and I crossed swords on many occasions, but today we were very pleasant to each other and sat and spoke for about half an hour.  Possible we both breathed a sigh of relief as we shook hands and went our separate ways, but a stranger wouldn’t have seen it.

I made one more window shopping stop and this one was unintended.  I stopped to look in the window of a computer repair shop in Bath Street and saw a MacBook Air in the window for about half the normal price.  I guessed it was a refurbished model, but went in to check.  It was indeed refurbished, but the spec was good even if it was a bit long in the tooth.  Now that’s a idea I hadn’t considered before.  Since my MBP which I’m writing this on is now over eight years old, I know the longevity of the Apple computers.  That said, I’m still wondering if I’m just buying someone else’s problems.

Back home I downloaded the Rick Wakeman album from iTunes and Scamp was as delighted as me with it.

Later I went to get a PoD.  That’s what you see above.  It’s the view from the Antonine Wall, the Roman equivalent of Trump’s wall.  It was built by  the Romans to keep the uncivilised heathens out.  I don’t know who the uncivilised heathens are in america.

Tomorrow I’ve got coffee booked with Val and Fred.


  1. Electronic View Finder as opposed to the rear LCD screen. 
  2. Raw files are named so because they are not yet processed and therefore are not ready to be printed or edited.  They do, however give the purest image quality. 
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Around and about – 15 April 2017

Today we started out being driven to Hitchen for lunch and a walk around the shops.  It seemed like a plan as the sun was out and it was fairly warm.

It seems a pleasant wee town with a busy market in the centre.  Had lunch in a Greek restaurant.  I had lamb casserole as my main after a starter of Borek which is filo pastry filled with Greek feta cheese & spinach.  Afterwards we went for a walk around the main part of the town where a Sikh group were giving out free food and cans of juice to anyone who wanted it, free of charge as part of their Vaisakhi festival.  We had just had lunch, but there were big queues at the stall, happy to make the most of the food on offer.  It appears that there is such a thing as a free lunch!

It being Easter, there were a few others stalls dotted around, a town crier shouting the odds and even a couple of Imperial Stormtroopers searching for those droids, I presume.  We were looking for Just Desserts, a dessert restaurant, but it when we found it, it was closed, not just for Easter, but for good.   It had had its just desserts.  Instead of a dessert, we settled for a posh, artisan coffee shop.  Coffee was lovely, if  a bit sharp and there were loads of cakes on display.  JIC and I had Yoghurt and Cranberry slice.  Best laugh of the day was when I went to the toilet and found the toilet brush was stuck in a Starbucks mug!  Someone with a sense of humour and an opinion of Starbucks much like my own.

Back in the town the Vaisakhi procession was in full swing with drummers and marchers who were preceded by two men spraying water on the road in front of the markers, presumably to ritually clean it for them.  It was all quite a jolly and colourful affair in the sunshine.  However, our parking time was nearly up, so we made our way past and old church back to the car with a few minutes to spare.

Went out later to see the new Mill House and it’s quite a revelation although there is still a fair bit of scaffolding enclosing it.  Sketched it, but I’m not impressed with the sketch.  May redo it later.

Dinner should have been in the Benington Bell which is a traditional British pub serving traditional Trinidad food!  I had Aloo Pies to start with, but everybody else had Salt Fish and Tomato.  Main for me was Lamb Curry for me and for everyone else was Chicken Curry.  I just like to be different.  Unfortuntely, Sim wasn’t feeling too good, so we just ate and left. (Since I’m writing this on Sunday, I can tell you that she was fine after a night’s sleep.) The food was really, and I mean really excellent.  Thank you JIC and Sim for that.

When we got home, Sim went for a snooze while we watched Black Mirror on Netflix.  Interesting programme.  Must search for it when we get back home.

Tomorrow (or to be truthful, today 😉 we’re hoping to visit a garden centre.)

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A Belated Birthday Bash – 11 April 2017

Got the bus in to Glasgow and went up Sausage Roll Street.  Got another spare pair of reading glasses from Flying Tiger which turned out to be the wrong strength!  (Note to self 1: 1.5 diopter readers from Flying Tiger not 2.0 diopter, Numpty) Then on to Blacks where I’d checked out a potential jacket last week.  This time I bought one.  Not  the one I’d checked out, but that doesn’t matter, this one fits and I like it.  The Bergy I bought in Embra will now go back.  I also bought myself a cook book because I liked the look of some of the recipes.  Foodies, what can you do with them?  On the walk down Sausage Roll Street, an Asian girl stopped Scamp and asked if she would take a photo of her with the two guys she was with.  Scamp just pointed at me and the girl gave me her camera, a Contax.  A Contax film camera.  What a beautiful piece of equipment.  I took two photos of the group as directed.  It was so strange to take a photo and not be able to see the result on the back screen.  I hope they turned out.

Next, it was down to Paesano for my BBL (Belated Birthday Lunch.)  Pizza No 3 seeing as you’re asking.  Anchovies Olives and Capers, washed down with a glass of Shiraz.  Very nice.  Down, further still to Argyle Street which is where today’s photos come from then the slow crawl back up to the bus station via Cass Art to buy some A4 HP watercolour paper.  HP means Hot Pressed i.e. smooth, no tooth.  Never used it before and haven’t had a chance to use it tonight.  Also via The Counting House for some cheap (and nasty) beer (Note to self 2:  Don’t buy Devil’s Backbone IPA, it’s fizzy and tasteless) and some “ok, but nothing special” Botanist G&T for Scamp).  Amazingly it cost just pennies over a fiver, so we shouldn’t complain too much.

Plodded on to the bus station and got the bus home, to find that the parcel had arrived from Hazy.  As usual, you are just as imaginative as your brother.
Who would have thought that a pair of boxer shorts would make a great birthday present?
Well, they would if you had to make them yourself!!!
Who’d have thought some mushrooms would have been a great birthday present?
Well, they would if you had to grow them yourself!!!
Thank you both for your imagination.  I loved them, although the mushrooms look easier to grow than the boxers will be to sew.

That’s about it for tonight, other than I’ve been trying to delete 500, yes, 500 files from my NAS drive and it was driving me crazy until I found a neat solution on the ’net that blitzed them in a trice.  That bloody iPhone had been downloading another update on  the fly.  It took up 1.2GB of space on the phone.  I can’t afford to lose that amount of space just because Apple wants to bugger up my phone, so it also has now gone into the ether.

Tomorrow I may go to Perf.  On the bus.